Importance of leadership in Women

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The number of women in leadership roles is steadily increasing, with 2017 seeing the female representation of board members in UK companies higher than ever, and 2018 seeing a slight increase in the number of women holding positions in senior leadership.

However, this push in the right direction doesn’t eliminate the many challenges that have to be faced on a daily basis by female leaders. No matter the industry, the leadership role, or the size of the business, challenges come in at a rapid rate.

Here are four of the most common challenges that female leadership face when trying to be successful in their chosen industry:

Gender Bias in the Workplace:
It’s not always conscious nor is it always spoken, but there is still an evident gender bias in the workplace. This is a problem that goes both ways, women don’t always champion what they hope to achieve, and men don’t also stop to realise that they’re following through on decisions that affect women’s careers without consulting them.
The higher number of men in leadership positions also leave women outnumbered; they don’t have the same level of support system and it’s harder to find strong female mentors in most fields.

Growing a Business:
For the leaders of any organisation, growing a business is a key strategic goal, yet for women, it can be much more of a challenge. Developing business relationships and securing financing can be more difficult in male-dominated industries. It can be difficult for women leaders to construct the kind of partnerships that it takes to develop and expand a business and manage time efficiently to get everything done.

The Stigma Attached to Female Leaders:
Perhaps the biggest issue that female leaders face is the stigma that has long been attached to women in leadership positions. Everything from ‘women are too emotional to be leaders’ to ‘women struggle to maintain a work-life balance’ can present a challenge for any female leader before they have even started their first day on the job.

These stigmas run deep, and this challenge is not something that can easily be overcome; the preconceptions must instead be proven wrong by the ongoing success of female leaders.

Staying Confident :
The very challenges that women leaders have to face are the cause of one of the most difficult challenges to overcome – staying confident. Recent research has revealed that employers believe that men are fundamentally more ambitious, yet another blow to the confidence of women leaders but also the possible result of confidence issues.

Leaders need to be confident, it’s an undeniable element of leadership, so it’s down to women to make sure that their voices are always heard, even in a boardroom dominated by men.

Leadership isn’t gender-exclusive, it’s a collection of strong traits, ambitions, and skills, that any man or woman can hold. While there are plenty of challenges involved in being a female leader, there are also plenty of ways to overcome them!
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Sherrie Lacey

Writer, Business Women

Sherrie Fluer De Lacey is a doctoral student, currently studying a PhD in International Business at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. She previously worked in the City of London as an analyst, developing proprietary trading algorithms, helping to raise money and broker deals following this, she embarked on extensive research and with collaboration Sherrie has put together several books to share the findings of this academic research more widely.

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